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First ever diabetes screening at football match

Football fans will be offered free voluntary tests for type 2 diabetes at the Southampton v Cardiff match this Saturday (Feb 9) in what is believed to be the first screening carried out at a game in the UK. 

The innovative scheme will offer supporters the opportunity to give a finger prick blood sample, which will highlight whether they are at risk of the condition or even likely to have it.

 
If needed, they will then get a letter to give to their GP and be given advice on the next steps.
 
Diabetes testThe screening, which is on offer to Saints and Cardiff fans of all ages and genders, is being delivered by the University Hospital Southampton, in association with Southampton Hospital Charity, Saints Foundation and Diabetes Research and Wellness.
 
It is seen as a way of reaching more middle-aged males – a group who may not see their GP frequently and where type 2 diabetes can be a risk. 
 
It is going ahead thanks to Southampton Hospital Charity donating the money for the testing kits and will be carried out in a marquee next to the Gasworks Lounge outside the Kingsland Stand at St Mary’s stadium ahead of the game.
 
NHS teams will be working with the Saints Foundation and Diabetes Research and Wellness on the day. Public Health England currently estimates that there are 133,723 people living with diabetes across Hampshire and Isle of Wight. By 2035, this figure is set to increase by over 25 per cent to 170,000.
 
Dr Mike Sadler, clinical non-executive director at University Hospital Southampton, said: “This is the first time that screening has been carried out at a football match, but we believe that some fans are at higher risk of diabetes, which is important to know. This is a chance to help your health at the same time as supporting your football team.”
 
Jason Shauness, Director of Southampton Hospital Charity, added: “We are happy to help so that fans at the ground can be tested as early diagnosis can reduce their chances of developing long-term diabetes related health issues.”
 
Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships at Southampton FC, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this innovative project, which again demonstrates our ongoing commitment to helping people across the city to live healthier lives. We look forward to seeing as many Saints fans as possible prior to kick-off.”
 
Councillor David Shields, Cabinet Member for Health and Community Wellbeing, added: “As a Saints fan and someone who is concerned with residents’ health, I commend the team for promoting these diabetes tests and encourage fans to take part at the match on Saturday.”
 
More than 3.5 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, a common condition causing the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high.
 
However, it is believed another one million people have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
 
This is because high sugar levels do not always cause symptoms, though they do cause damage to vital systems of the body, such as eyes, kidneys and heart. The earlier that it’s diagnosed, the better, as earlier treatment can really reduce the risk of longer-term health problems such as damage to your kidney.
 
Testing at the match will involve a free finger prick blood test that can indicate a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes within five minutes by measuring HbA1c, a marker of how much glucose has been in their blood over the last two to three months.
 




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